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Moms Talk: Do Vaccines Increase the Chances of Autism?

The decade-long debate still concerns parents of young children—should they listen to their doctors, leave time between shots or not vaccinate at all?

Immunizations used to just be something routinely scheduled for every child and viewed as normal doctor’s appointments during the first few years.

But over the last few years, autism spectrum disorders started to rise, and some said there was a link between vaccines and the emergence of symptoms. 

It’s hard not to wonder if vaccines are causing autism. Most symptoms of a spectrum disorder tend to surface right around the time children are scheduled for their vaccines.

For parent Penny Dean, a former employee with the city of Milpitas, she began noticing her second child became more withdrawn six months after a series of routine vaccinations.

Tyler, now 18 years old, has the first known case of autism in the family lineage. And her advice to other moms is to space out the vaccinations.

"So when it's time for that shot," she said, "you don't need to get all those shots right away," especially when the kid is not going immediately into school.

Make an appointment with the doctor to go back in a month, she said. 

Even though the link between autism and vaccines is unclear, parents may still seem a little hesitant about the overwhelming schedule of vaccines during the first few years of their children’s lives. A popular option is to spread out the vaccines, as Dean suggests, as they are usually given as combination shots or two or three at a time.

Yet research now shows that children who receive spaced out vaccines are just as likely to be diagnosed with autism compared with children who received them on time or not at all. 

For parents who prefer not to vaccinate at all, the most important thing to consider is if the diseases the vaccines are designed to prevent are worse than an autism spectrum disorder.

Polio, measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis are just some of the debilitating diseases that vaccines protect our children from. These diseases are hard to treat and can be lethal.

In my opinion, I think the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks. And even though the research says vaccines don’t cause autism, you still need to find a way to be comfortable with your decision to vaccinate your children.

I work as a behavioral aide for autistic children and see the ups and the downs of having a child on the spectrum. While it's stressful and heartbreaking to work with children who in some aspects of their lives will never be quite how their parents had hoped, I also get to see firsthand the joy they bring their families.

If I had to choose, I would rather have a child on the autism spectrum than to lose him or her to a preventable disease for which I chose not to have them vaccinated.

*The debate started in 1998, after an article published in a popular British Medical Journal that showed a direct correlation between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR). After several researchers tried to replicate the findings unsuccessfully, it has been discovered that the lead author of the study had manipulated evidence, and the findings were declared fraudulent in January of this year.

victor pavlovic April 21, 2011 at 11:30 PM
Michael, you're definitely correct about people using the words like absolutely no connection between autism and vaccines. My thinking on this they are paid to blog by Big Pharma, and misinform young impressionable people, who are unclear on the matter. I have heard from other people that they have resorted to this tactic, just so they have an opposing view on sites like this, however it is not working and each day that goes by more people are avoiding vaccines until they could prove their safety.
Darcy Kendall April 22, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Didn't see the words "absolutely no possible connection" anywhere in anyone's comments, Victor and Michael. And being paid to blog by Big Pharma? Please. If you were referring to me (don't know for sure that you were), you'd be sadly mistaken. And I rather doubt there are many young impressionable people being misinformed here (or even reading these comments). At any rate, I am also interested in possible environmental causes (pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, fire retardants--chemicals now in our bodies and in breastmilk that weren't 100 years ago) in addition to genetics. For example, why are there clusters where the autism rate is much higher (including the Santa Clara Valley)? To blame all autism cases on vaccines--and to claim no one was autistic before the 1930s--is quite short-sighted when there are certainly other factors also involved.
victor pavlovic April 22, 2011 at 01:14 AM
Darcy, I wasn't referring to you, however now that you mentioned it you do sound exactly like the Pharma people. It basically the same words repeated over and over again by vaccine defenders, answer this question for me. Why is it that vaccines are excluded from your extensive lists of possible causes of autism?if they cause cancer, brain damage, immediate death,anaphylactic shock, Encephalopathy, acute complication or sequela, Chronic arthritis, Thrombocytopenic purpura, Vaccine-Strain Measles Viral Infection in an immunodeficient recipient , Paralytic polio, Vaccine-strain polio viral infection, then why is it that you think these vaccines are so safe to inject? What's behind this madness when you say let's look at everything other then the toxins you want people to inject themselves with?
Michael McLaughlin April 22, 2011 at 06:34 AM
Darcy, Ms. Bush said "Vaccines do not cause autism. Period." I think fills the ABSOLUTELY bill. As you now must realize you were short sighted because you looking for ABSOLUTELY. Take heed. I think many people with my view on vaccines and autism are more concerned with the immaturity of a baby's or toddler's immune system and the shock injected vaccines and multiple vaccines could cause. Vaccines are quite a cash cow and are super hyped by big pharma. Google vaccines. Some of the results are real eye openers. One year I think 90 million flu shots were given, the next there was a 30 some million shortage and lo and behold there were fewer cases of the flu. ////// And then there's the new cervical vaccine.///// Dr. Harper also warned that the cervical cancer vaccine was being "over-marketed" and that parents should be warned about the possible risk of severe side effects from the vaccine. She even concluded that the vaccine itself is more dangerous than the cervical cancer it claims to prevent! Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/027196_cancer_cervical_cancer_cancer_vaccine.html#ixzz1KEOQFOrI
Katherine Kohls March 30, 2012 at 04:00 PM
The way we diagnose autism today is very different. I am sure that a great deal of autistic children were diagnosed mr and shipped off to be institutionalized. There maybe an increase too but there would be some new environmental factor that would cause it. Genes or age of the parents can not explain all of the increases. We know that antidepressants and premature and underweight infants have a higher rate of autism. Children who present totally normal except for autistic tendencies need to be studied for environmental causes.

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